There’s nothing like being in New Mexico during the holidays.
As the cold weather sets in, the air is full of the smell of piñon. There are plenty of Christmas Eve traditions that have been going on for decades in the state.
Here are a few that are full of family fun:
For 57 years, ABQ Ride’s Luminaria Tour has been a tradition for many on Christmas Eve.
Ticket-holders are encouraged to arrive 20 minutes before their scheduled departure, according to an ABQ RIDE news release.
Tour times are scheduled for 5:30 p.m., 5:50 p.m., 6:10 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7:05 p.m. and 7:25 p.m.
Bathrooms are available at the convention center. Drinks with lids will be allowed on the buses but food and open liquid containers are prohibited.
Free parking also will be available for disabled and special-needs individuals in the parking lot at the northwest corner of Third Street and Marquette Avenue NW, the news release said.
Parking underneath Civic Plaza is also free. The major areas of the Luminaria Tour are: Old Town, the Country Club and Huning Castle neighborhoods. The tour lasts about 45 minutes. As in previous years, tickets for the annual event sold out in minutes, but those willing can take their own tour. A map can be viewed at luminariatour.com.
“Luminarias in Lincoln” will take place beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, at the Lincoln Historic Site.
Volunteers and participants will begin assembling the luminarias at the Pageant grounds at 9 a.m. and place the luminarias later in the afternoon. Lighting of the luminarias will commence around 4 p.m. At approximately 5-5:30 p.m., just before dark, a very special guest, Goober, the Longhorn steer will arrive at the Lincoln Community Church with Santa. Following the celebration of Goober and Santa’s arrival, the community will have a church service in the Community Church. Afterwards, there will be hot chocolate available to warm those who want to socialize or walk the street to view the luminarias. The event is free and open to the public.
Dating back to the 1960s, the Town of Mesilla’s most awaited event will once again take place from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24.
The beautifully historic community will be carefully lit up with traditional luminarias, all along Avenida de Mesilla, lighting the way to the plaza.
“Christmas Eve is such a special time here in the Town of Mesilla,” says Mesilla Mayor Nora Barraza. “Seeing the look of wonder on the faces of visitors, as they join local residents and the local choir singing Christmas carols, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and cookies. The genuine, heartfelt warmth of our surroundings with the laughter of children in the background and family pictures taken in front of the Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza and of everyone getting together celebrating the birth of the Christ child makes such a heartening, magical moment.”
In keeping with the seasonal cheer, local musical groups will lead the crowd in singing old familiar carols around the gaily decked Christmas tree.
The Mesilla Fire Department will also hold its annual candlelight vigil, to honor fallen service members. The event is free and open to the public.
During the holiday season, Canyon Road is lit up by thousands of farolitos, which has become a beloved holiday tradition.
On Saturday, Dec. 24, the annual Canyon Road Farolito Walk will take place.
The Farolito Walk is free and open to everyone. No reservations or tickets are needed.
The walk, which starts on Christmas Eve at dusk, draws thousands of people each year.
Officials say to be prepared for crowds and a slow moving pace. To avoid the rush, consider coming later in the evening, around 8 p.m., though the event begins at sundown.
Strollers are very difficult to maneuver along the cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks, in addition to blocking pedestrian paths and causing traffic jams. Visit farolitowalk.com for
A trip to Taos Pueblo is always special. Now imagine hundreds of luminarias on the pueblo during the Christmas Eve Procession at Taos Pueblo.
The event starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24.
Mass will start at 5 p.m. (approximately), procession proceeds after mass, as well as the burning of the bonfires, lasting 2 hours or so. Parking is limited, showing up early would be ideal and dress warm. According to officials there is no guaranteed handicap parking and admission is free after a certain time. Please follow the pueblo’s rules regarding cell phones and recording devices. For details, visit taospueblo.com.